A review of Big Little Lies from someone who is low key too cheap to buy an HBO Go membership but still has an opinion, OK??
The chaotic state of our current political reality calls for some hefty doses of escapism. And while I was (almost) as much of a fan of Stranger Things and The OA as the rest of the internet, I have limits to how much sci-fi content I can consume. Cue my curiosity about HBO's newest series.
The anticipation around Big Little Lies was in big part due to its all star cast of actresses and the popularity of the book series with the same name. Shailene Woodley is friends with Nicole Kidman? Sure. Reese Witherspoon's ex-husband is married to Zoe Kravitz? Sure x2.
This episode reveals that someone is killed at what seems like a fancy school fundraiser which we're only shown short clips of but I'm sure we'll learn more about later on because #crimestories. Sprinkled in throughout the episode, however, are clips of Monterey residents being interviewed by a detective to share their perspective on the murder.
"Nobody knows nothing about anybody. You can write that one down detective."
Because we're learning this information while we're being introduced to the show's main characters, it's impossible to not think about who could have orchestrated the crime - even if just a little bit. The event that actually defines this episode, though, is one that happens at the first day of school. Jane (played by Shailene Woodley) is befriended by Madeline (Reese Witherspoon) and Celeste (Nicole Kidman). Jane is a single, working mother; Madeline and Celeste aren't.
“This is Monterrey," Madeline tells Jane, "we pound people with nice...." Celeste chimes in, “to death.”
Most of the inter-family conflicts in Monterey start and end at the town's (very good for a public school) school. Jane's son (Ziggy) is believed to have almost choked Renata's daughter Annabella), battle lines are drawn. This is an interesting and sort of weird instance to consider as being a tangible catalyst for the events that will follow but nevertheless an interesting one.
Everything about this show is aesthetically beautiful. The people, the landscape, and the homes that make up Monterey, CA are, on a surface level, a juxtaposition to the underlying story line of Big Little Lies. And in the end, we're here for something more than just being able to marvel at Nicole Kidman's skin in hi-def.